Father was a Wall Street gambler, as superstitious as
a Sicilian peasant doing an incantation to
He gave me the nickname of “Taviuk”, some
kind of Translylvanian talisman, claiming it would
bring him good luck. The day before it was all
over Puts and Calls were still his game.
Busy on the phone with his broker he failed to witness
the morning sun streaming through the window,
missing a glimpse of divine light, a glimmering
iridescent halo hovering over a lone tug boat
chugging up the turgid currents of the
After wrestling with a tangle of tubes
like an octopus surrounding its prey,
he was bound down to his bed
like a prisoner who might escape.
His emaciated body was tenderly
bathed by an angelic nurse who
washed genitals that had once
loomed so large to my child’s eye.
I remembered his shampooing my hair,
carefully avoiding getting soap in my eyes,
eyes that were now tearfully blurred.
As soon as I could see out of the
windshield he taught me to drive
his treasured Model-A Ford.
All my magic couldn’t save him from his
run-away Lymph glands, a Hydra monster
devouring his insides like a starving
old junk-yard mongrel.
When the tubes were removed he
lapsed into a coma.
We breathed as one until his body turned cold.
Milton P. Ehrlich